Today we are going to discuss cerebral palsy and how orthoses can help individuals with CP improve their quality of life. Ensuring mobility and independence is of utmost importance in order to optimize a child’s development. Orthoses, in particular can help to maximize physical development for children with CP.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that can appear in infancy or early childhood. The central nervous system is affected, resulting in permanent changes to body movements and muscle coordination.
Some of the symptoms of CP can include:
- lack of muscle coordination (ataxia)
- stiff or tight muscle along with exaggerated reflexes (spasticity)
- walking with one foot, dragging their leg, or walking on their toes
- crouched or scissoring gait
There is no cure for cerebral palsy however there are many treatment options available to enhance functioning & improve the individual’s life.
According to estimates, about 2/3rds of children with CP have the ability to walk and ambulate. But because of the nature of Cerebral Palsy – and its effect on the muscles, joints, and patterns of motion – establishing a gait that is meaningful can be a challenge. When an orthotic device is a successful part of treatment, it should help children establish normal patterns of joint and muscle motion.
The strength & stability of a person is also of crucial concern for individuals with CP. The more stable the body is, the better (& safer) the person can ambulate & complete tasks. Primary goals of orthotic intervention are to increase the individuals stability & range of motion; maintain or improve their level of functioning. Due to the varying degrees of severity associated with CP, there are a vast number of orthotic interventions.
Some common bracing solutions include night time stretching splints to help overcome contractures, lycra body suits to decrease muscle tone, and upper and lower extremity bracing for proper alignment & to improve stability of the body.
For more information, check out: https://www.cerebralpalsy.org/information/mobility/orthotics
Or Download this PDF from the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy:
If you have any questions about cerebral palsy or how orthoses can help your child, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office! We would be glad to answer any of your questions!